With the launch of the Supertrac 2.0 we wanted to find out more and I am sure you guys do too. The supertrac is possible the most iconic trail running shoe to hither market in the last few years. Runfreaks have sold more than anyone else so we were so excited to be able to offer the complete range in the Supertrac 2.0 on its launch in the UK.
Who better to hear from than Chris Dunn, he is the head of running for Scott Sports in the UK and he came in to see us at Runfreaks HQ to talk about the Supertrac 2.0, give his thoughts on what has made the best better and also to give us the lowdown on the whole Scott Sports Trail shoe range including the RC range and the Kinabalu trail shoe.
Below is the video and audio file from the meeting.
Rob - Runfreaks:So we've invited Chris from Scott sports into see Us at runfreaks this morning to try and explain a little bit more about the range of super track shoes. Welcome Chris do you wanna give yourself a brief introduction?
Chris Dunn:So I'm Chris, I'm from Scott. My brief is to look after the running division in the UK.
Rob - Runfreaks:So one of the questions that we get asked at runfreaks quite often is, can you explain the difference between the various shoes in the range that we carry? And we do carry all of the Scott sports 2019 shoes. So could you just start off by giving us a very brief overview of what the philosophy of Scott Sports is when they're trying to create a range of shoes?
So perhaps you can give us a quick overview, Chris, of the shoes in the range and what the intended purposes of each shoe are?
Chris Dunn: Yeah, absolutely. We've tried to simplify the range over the last couple of years. I've been with Scott for four years, and certainly since I've started, it's for me become more simple, so hopefully I can shed some more light on it as well as we go through. The trail range is basically split in two.
You've got Kinabalu and you've got a Supertrac. They're the two. Two types. Kinabalu is our trail runnning range. So a little less traction in the Supertrac range, more for lighter trails or manmade trails. Then you've got the supertrac range, which is definitely a bit more off path, a farmer's fields all the way up to a mountain run.
Really it's more about the traction type than the actual tops of the shoes themselves. That's how that it's split up. The supertrac range is probably the main one that we've had some kind of good sales through and some really good feedback on over the last, over the last few years, obviously through runfreaks, you've seen the Supertrac range really kind of develop.
It's the one that we're probably most well known for in the UK. Certainly the range itself has developed this year with the addition of the SuperTrac too. Um, this has the price point as a kind of 110 pounds full price. I know you can get it for a under a hundred pounds in certain places like ruin freaks, for example.
The shoe was very much a cushion, but super grippy and heavy traction shoe that you can run in basically all year round, especially in our conditions where it's muddy. For me, it's muddy all year round pretty much now.
Rob - Runfreaks: So it's pretty much the perfect UK trail runner shoe.
Chris Dunn:Yeah, and I mean, the original version of it was developed with the UK in mind. So as I said, it's the supertrac 2. It's not the first, the first one we've gone through. The very first version of it was developed for a race, the lakeland 50, and that was a kind of testing ground for the original version of, of the super trac.
While it's going to be muddy for long periods, that section through Ambleside is tarmac. So what we didn’t want to do is, you know, provide you with a fell shoe that will ruin your feet just because you run it in a few miles on tarmac during a long race
Rob - Runfreaks:So really it's not an either or kind of choice. Most people who are taking the trail running seriously should probably own both the supertrac and kinabalu. They should own the SuperTrac and Kinabalu because when they're running across the mud in winter and in the middle of August I'd probably want something a little bit less luggy than the SuperTrac.
Chris Dunn:Yeah, absolutely. I mean, if I'm doing something, you know, in Drysdale forest in the Lakes or maybe a forest around North Yorkshire way, I wouldn't necessarily need the supertrac if I'm staying on the forest paths, but you still need a decent amount of grip to make sure that you're not slipping on a rock or something like that.
Also protection underneath your foot. If you hit a sharp rock on a on a gravel path, you're still going to get a sore foot off it if you're just using a road shoe. So that's where this really comes into play. Um, a lot of our guys who are kind of at the, at the sharp end of races, like the kind of shoe because it feels a little bit faster on foot.
Um, I mean with the Supertrac range, we do have race options within it now. So there's a little bit more. More for them guys, but our lightest shoe is always going to be Kinabalu. Then our race horse, our work horse shoe, the supertrac, and then a recent version of that supertrac shoe as well.
Rob - Runfreaks:Give me a brief overview of the racing versions of the shoe and explain the RC range?
Chris Dunn:Yeah, absolutely. So RC. It stands for racing concept. It goes across all of our product ranges, whether it's ski or you see it in the bike range specifically.
So if anybody watches the Tour de Franceor the Giro de Italia, they'll see the RC bikes being used by, by those guys but in the running range, it still follows the same philosophy. So the RC range is always going to be like a where you're always going to be able to move a little bit, a little bit faster under foot in the running.
So we talk about drop height in the running world all the time. Basically, the lower the drop, the easier it is to react to something that hits your foot. So if you're on really technical ground, a slightly lower drop is always going to be beneficial.
Now we don't go down the route of zero drop. Yeah, I'm sure it will happen at some point , it's something that's been thought about but we do a three millimetre drop shoe, a five mil drop shoe and an eight mil drop shoe. That's it. We've got three different types. If I'm doing a longer training run or if I'm, you know, using a shoe over and over again, all my mileage in a week, I'll probably use an eight mil drop shoe if I'm going to be racing a faster race or even some of the kind of longer, longer races.
But I want to move a bit quicker of a technical ground. I'll use the five mil drop shoe, then if I'm doing a 5K park run, and for example, on gravel paths, I'll use a three mil drop shoejust to get that extra bit.
Rob - Runfreaks:To be fair, a three mil drop is virtually zero anyway, when you're running across technical ground, isn't it?
Chris Dunn:Yeah, exactly. We run a thing called e-ride through our entire product range, which gives you a curve underneath your foot and you know, you'll see the proliferation of that within the new Nike vapor fly, they've got a race rocker in them, and as, as has Hoka and a few of the brands, but we've had that for a while now, pretty much since the running shoe.
It came at the start a 10 years ago for Scott, but our whole range has got a rocker outsole which just promotes that forward motion. Also if you do start falling back on your heels when you get tired, as we all do, it does just push you forward a little bit more. So a three mil drop shoe, we'll still have that rocking outsole.
And it just means that it's not pure zero drop. It just gives you a little bit more support as you, as you run in through it.
Rob - Runfreaks: So one of the big questions, burning questions, I suppose that we've been asked over the last two or three months with the introduction of the Supertrac 2 is what is the main difference between the Supertrac 2 and the previous incarnation of the Supertrac, because the previous incarnation ended up becoming quite an iconic shoe and must have surprised Scott, quite how successful it was.
Chris Dunn:Absolutely. I mean, for me the big thing is, the old one was always perceived as quite a heavy shoe, although it stacked up against everything else out there. It wasn't actually as heavy as some of the competitor shoes. It felt quite bulky. A large part of that was foam.
It had cushion in it, which a lot of the other ones have that similar style didn't have. So what was kind of key, from what I hear from the product teams over and over in Switzerland, our base was that getting the weight down was, it was a key. It was a key thing. and also the comfort when you first put the shoe on.
I think that's a big thing when you first get a pair of running shoes from Scott. Now especially this attracts you to it when you put your foot into it feels like a comfortable shoe straight out of the box. I don't think you should need to wear in a pair of running shoes. I don't think that's something that should exist anymore.
It should feel comfy straight away. And so yeah, those two things, weight and comfort are kind of key. The best things about version one was that the grip was really good. The attraction was really good under foot. And largely that traction pattern has stayed the same. There's a slight adjustment to it to it, the kind of mud shedding capabilities of this shoe.
The old one did gather a little bit of mud over the course of a longer race. So there's some little kind of diamonds in between each lug just to kind of push that mud out. I have been using the shoe for about three or four months now, and really find about that as being a major, a major difference in the outsole, but the lugs are the same. So those people who really love the old one they can get the same kind of traction from the new one as well.
Rob - Runfreaks:One of the things I really like about the SuperTrac is it actually handles wet rock quite well, and one or two other brands that we've been in the position where, and we get quite a few samples of different shoes.
And I was sent the sample recently of a competitor of the Scott supertrac, and I nearly fell over leaving my house. I'm on wet slabs. I never have that feeling when I'm wearing a super track and I presume you've improved a little bit more with this point now as well.
Chris Dunn:Yeah, so the best compounds are used. We always try and have the best of all worlds. So there is always going to be a bit of a compromise between all of the shoes, but certainly I'm the same and in use, I've not found these to be particularly bad on wet rock and certainly an improvement on the, on the old style.
I feel pretty confident on slabs and even wet tarmac, which we've had a lot of recently running on the trails. I feel completely secure in these shoes. That's the feedback we've had from a lot of the athletes and a few people who I know who have bought the shoes themselves.
And normally it's, it's more about what I don't want here with shoes than what I do not So I haven't really heard any, any problems. So that's, that's a pretty good indicator.
Rob - Runfreaks:I think one of the things worth mentioning as well is the price point. Yeah. We very much think it is the best shoe available.
It happens to be under a hundred pounds we mentioned that it's the best shoe available for a hundred pounds, but we actually think it's probably the best shoe available for under about 140 pounds. I don't know how you've done it, but it does seem that you've managed to provide an incredible amount of value at the price, and I would have expected rather than it be in he sub hundred pound price point, you would have probably been looking at the 130 pound plus price point. Is that something that was a deliberate aim of Scott when producing this show?
Chris Dunn:Yeah. I mean, we'll always try and meet, make product at the right price, I think. I think thats the thing. This shoe, we will want as many people to wear it as possible. So yeah, the responsibility for that lies with the product guys and have managed to come up with something that really has value. I think it's more than affordable for people who want to invest in a good pair of trail shoes.
Price is always a sore subject when it comes to shoes because you need a lot of them to get through a year. If you ever run in a lot, if you're in a thousand, 2000 miles a year, like some people do, you're going to go through shoes quite quickly but I think for us it's creating something that will last that long as well.
It's not just about the price, it's something that gives you a value for what, what you're going to get. And while I've said the light start the old ones, you still last for ages. That was a good thing about them although there were weightier, um, you know, everybody was happy at how long they would last.
And that's the same here. These shoes are built, they're built to last, so you're not going through four or five pairs a year and you're going to be able to train in the same shoe all year and potentially race in them as well. So, yeah, it, it's deliberate in terms of having a range of shoes at different price points that people can afford.
Rob - Runfreaks:Let me put you on the spot then. Chris, how many miles would you expect to get out of a pair of these Yorkshire trails?
Chris Dunn:That's a big one because anybody who knows me and not just my voice will know that I'm quite a big guy. So, you know, I'm six foot seven and I can go through shoes at quite a clip.
So for me, I would expect to get a full year of training and then race now and then with these shoes. I don't want to give away my mileage because people will think I'll need to do some more and I kind of really am so, so yeah, I would expect to get at least a full year out with ease, if not more.
The current pair that I've got. I've got about 300 miles in them and there's plenty more life
Rob - Runfreaks:That's pretty good. To be fair, when we judge a shoe on the returns that we get, and I can honestly say having sold probably more pairs of supertrac than anyone else in the UK last year, we didn't get a single return, not one
Chris Dunn:that's good to hear
Rob - Runfreaks:Where as there were competitor brands. So I'm not going to screw over on this, but we probably expect about one in six or seven pairs to come back with a fault in the toe box which is why we no longer supply their shoes, but I think it's fair to say that we expect never to see a pair of supertrac again once it's left us.
Chris Dunn:Yeah. Yeah. I mean, the thing that Scott do really well is that this shoe is being two years in the making. It's two years that our saw the first kind of thoughts of this shoe in the heads of some of the product managers and developers over in HQ. We don't go quickly with these things. We make sure that its right that it got tested by athletes, but not just athletes, just normal runners as well. I've managed to give a couple of sets a go over the course of time to make sure that they're gonna, that they're gonna last.
So we know what we're doing in terms of getting stuff to last. The materials we use are high quality. When am I going to do something just to get it out and just to get the price point down because then, you know, this stuff doesn't last long enough,.
Rob - Runfreaks:So you've tried to make them a little bit more sexy than the last time. The previous incarnations, it was one colorway at a time, and you've launched in the men's with three colors. I'm thinking two in the lady shoe as well. What's the thought process behind that? I mean there much more attractive on a shelf and much more attractive on a webpage to people. I can see that, but have you found that our what colour is more popular in the UK?
Chris Dunn:It's, it's fairly split. I think the thing we call colour is always a sore subject. So when we have meetings about colour, it always lasts 10 times longer than any other meeting that we would probably have. So we don't actually talk about it that often until the shoes come out. I mean, the theory behind having more colourways is just to give people more options. You'll see from the site that you've got a kind of quite a bright orange colourway, a blue colourway, which is probably done slightly better in the men's range and then a black as well.
So everybody's got something that they can probably have a look out and go, yeah, I can see that. The blue one, I mean, it's fairly similar to the old supertrac similar kind of colour way. The orange are like, it's just kind of a recent, recent colour then in the women's range, the kind of sky blue colour, I think.
Rob - Runfreaks:I understand that. And one of the things we always found a bit odd is that people worry about the colour of these shoes it's all very good when you're wearing them in the kitchen for the first time you've got them but as soon as you've done 15 miles across the top of the moors down through the forest track back through the bog. It doesn't really matter what color they are at all.
Chris Dunn:No, absolutely. Colour is always, always personal.
It's always something that you can decide on yourself. It's not if the colors aren't right and you know, just run to run through some mud and there'll be the same color as everybody else’s. The one time that we'll, we'll kind of kind of pin sales to the mass colorways is the RC color range.
So all of our black and yellow shoes, that is our racing colors and that will be across running, bike, everything. Black and yellow is a Scott colour when it comes to race.
I think with the new supertrac we've got to give a different colour. You're not gonna see any yellow on it.
Rob - Runfreaks:Now, the second most popular question we get is, I run in brand X of shoes. How does this shoe stack up against them?
And one of the things that we use as a retail outlet, as a measure, is how many returns we get based on size and size and fit alone and one of the things we've found with Scott shoes over the years is that we do get a very low return rate based on size. So if you're buying a size 10 it tends to be a true size 10 fit.
If you buy an a size six and a half, it tends to be a six and a half fit. Um. What's your experience of that with, with not just online retailers, but people in stores? So how do we give a little bit of guidance here to people in terms of how they should choose shoe size in the new range?
Chris Dunn: I mean, speaking about our range, specifically in the Supertrac to the true size. My normal shoes and stuff I would wear on a weekend and I'm the same size as the supertrac. So if I'm a in new Supertrac 2.0 and the Supertrac RC, I get the same size in those shoes as I've gotten every single other. There's a couple of shoes in the range, which you might want to have a look at in terms of sizes.
So the kinabalu RC is another shoe we'll talk about maybe later, but I find them a little bit bigger, but that's pretty much it. I get the same size and all the shoes.
Rob - Runfreaks:So in summary unless you choose a Kinabalu RC where you might go half a size down you pretty much choose what you would wear day to day.
Chris Dunn:I kind of base that on personal experience really. Cause, you know, in the end, I'm a runner as well. And I've had brands over the years and you know, any running rep who says they haven't had another brand on the feet is this liar because we've all done it but, you know, before I worked at Scott, I didn't and I bought running shoes.
And you know, I've got more pairs of shoes than I would like to admit. Um, so, so yeah, I've had the experience of buying the wrong size and, and, and stuff like that. But speaking purely about Scott. I find them pretty true to size.
Rob - Runfreaks:So just slightly expanding the Supertrac range as well.
There is the Gortex shoe that's in the Supertrac range. Some people questioned why you would need a Gortex trail shoe cause what comes in over the top of the shoe and everywhere else but can you explain a little bit the concept of the Gortex shoe in the range.
Chris Dunn: So the Gortex shoe for me is something that I would use if I wasn't necessarily running.
If I was doing a long kind of walks or Cleveland way or Hadrian's wall or something like that, that's a shoe that I would, I would use for that. We do have a lot of people who maybe need to run. So we've got a couple of race directors who love those shoes because they'll stand in a muddy field all alone and not necessarily running.
But if they do need to get out and help somebody or take some water somewhere they can use that shoe and run a bit and it will still perform in the same way as walking boots. You'll have less likelihood of getting, getting wet feet. And we've got a few photographers as well who have kind of, you know, the sit in the van waiting for an opportunity to take a photograph but then get quickly out of the van or the car.
Again, my feet are dry.
Rob - Runfreaks: I'm going to make confession here? They're my favorite dog walking shoe. I know that sounds ridiculous, but when I'm taking the dogs out on a muddy field and the large dog can pull quite a bit, I want something on my feet to know I'm going to stay on my feet and not get pulled over and slip around.
Chris Dunn:I mean, dog walkers walk more than a lot of runners do. You know, twice a day, three times a day in some cases, miles and miles and miles.
Rob - Runfreaks:To be fair, you know, I quite happily walk four or five miles in the shoes without getting any rub, any difficulty or anything like that. And the same goes, luckily enough, my wife was a pair as well for exactly the same purposes.
Chris Dunn:When it, when it comes back to the running side of it, if you're not going to be deliberately running through kind of ankle deep puddles, like a lot of us are, and you're just running through a little bit of wet, wet ground and things like that, if you want to keep dry feet, your best chance of keeping dry feet is by getting a Gore-Tex shoe.
The fact that it's the Supertrac means you do get the same amount of grip.
Rob - Runfreaks:Okay. So let's move on. Let's talk about the next shoe in the range that Kinabalu, you touched on it 10 minutes ago about the main differences in the shoes, but tell me a little bit about what it's for.
Chris Dunn:Just to give you the history of Scott running and Kinanbalu is a mountain that one of our early athletes did a, did a race on, and he did it in a pair of our road shoes. And that's where Scott originally kind of forged a bit of a furrow.
It was within road and triathlon and stuff like that. Hence the, you know, the bike, the bike kind of connection. And one of our athletes, um, used, uh. Scott road shoe for the Mount Kinabalu race. When he came back, he loved the feel under the foot so that he used the road rocker that I was talking about.
That's why we've put a kind of a trail shoe out and we saw a lot of people who have come to the brand will
The original Scott running shoes were road shoes, not trail. What they did when it came back was put a trail outsole on it and made it a little bit more,more kind of usable on in trail environments.
So the kinabalu is the heritage of Scott run and Scott trail running specifically. So it's always going to be in the range. The Kinabalu range is split into two, same as the supertrac So you've got an RC shoe and you've got a non RC shoe. Price points are different.
The RC one's slightly more expensive but one's heavier than the other. So the RC shoes, super, super lightweight, coming in under 300 grams, 250 grams, and a three mil drop.So really close to the ground that around kind of fused environments. Then the kinabalu kind of inline shoe is, as we call it, a little bit heavier, not massively heavier, but a little bit, and 8 mill drop.
So for somebody who's wanting a little bit more support or a little bit more help with the kind of muscles in the backs of the legs, the higher drop height will, will help that. The normal kind of shoe does have a bit more protection in it. So it's got more cushion in it.
It's more comfortable over time, but also you've got a little bit more protection from rocks and things like that, whereas the Kinabalu RC is a race shoe. It's super lightweight, really close to the ground. You get good traction from the lugs, but it's more about moving fast or they're non technical trails really.
Rob - Runfreaks: Is there a Gore-Tex shoe in that range as well?
Chris Dunn:Yeah. So the normal kinabalu, the middle drop one has got a Gore-Tex version of it as well.
Rob - Runfreaks:So the ideal kit for somebody, and i’m talking to UK runners really here, I’m thinking the ideal kit for anyone who takes their trail running seriously and might even do some relatively short races over trails as well. Which brings a question to mind. What sort of distances would you expect people to run in the RC range?
Chris Dunn:Tt depends who you talk to really. We've got some people who run in the supertrac RC’s and they do a hundred milers. I mean for me, just me as a normal runner. I'm not an athlete, hence why I'm a sales rep, not an athlete I run kind of up to half marathon distance really across, across everything.
There's been the odd dalliance slightly longer, but I prefer the half marathon kind of distance. I'll mainly use the supertrac RC. Up until this year, I get the right amount of grip from it. I got the right amount of cushion in underneath my foot and feel on the tops of my feet.
I've got used to it over the last two or three years, and again, out of the box, they were super comfortable. So I haven't really had to change while I've, I've run in, I get the luxury of running in other shoes and that's the one I always, always go back to untill this summer. As soon as the new supertrac came out, that's the one that's taken over.